Fuad Al-Khoffash, head of the Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights, stated that not a single detainee from the Jerusalem and historic Palestine is included in the list of detained to be released by Israel, and that not all old detainees are included.His statements came after Israel announced the names of 26 Palestinian detainees to be released as part of an American mediated agreement to ensure the resumption of direct peace talks between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.
“This list is very disappointing to the detainees, their families and the Palestinian people”, he said, “Israel was supposed to release old detainees who spent many years in prison”.
He also stated that the Palestinians are happy for the release of any detainee, and added that the release should have been based on real standards, instead of illusions, especially since Israel chose the names of the detainees without any coordination with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
“The worst part of this list is that detainees from Jerusalem from Jerusalem and historic Palestine have been excluded”, Al-Khoffash said, “The list was concentrated on detainees from Gaza”.
He said that there are 57 old detainees from the West Bank and 23 from Gaza, and that Israel was supposed to release 15 detainees from Gaza and 11 from the West Bank.
Al-Khoffash also said that two detainees, members of Hamas, are slated to be release in a month.
“Detainee Samir Hussein Mortaji from Gaza, was kidnapped on October 29 1993, and was sentenced to twenty ears, he served his term and is supposed to be released next month anyways”, he stated, “Detainee Jamal Ambdul-Wahab Natsha was kidnapped on December 12 1992 and was sentenced to 21 years, he served his term, and was scheduled to be released in three months”.
Also on the list are four detainees who were supposed to be released anyways in less than a year, including three, from Gaza, who have been sentenced to 25 years, and one from the West Bank who was sentenced to 21 years and is supposed to be released anyway in six months.
“Nihad Yousef Jondiyya, from Gaza, was kidnapped on July 14 1989, Mohammad Mahmoud Hamdiyya, from Gaza, was taken prisoner on the same day, Mohammad Jaber Nabshat, from Gaza, was kidnapped on September 20 1990”, he said, “Also resident Taher Mahmoud Zyoud, from Jenin, was taken prisoner on February 6 1993, he was sentenced to 21 years, and was supposed to be released in six months”.
He also stated that detainee Ismael Abdul-Hafeeth Mansour, was kidnapped on October 26 1993; he was sentenced to 22 years and was scheduled to be released in two years.
In addition, detainee Atef Izzat Sha’ath, from Gaza, was kidnapped on March 13 1993, and spent 21 years of his 25-year term. Detainee Yousef Sa’id Abdul-‘Aal, from Gaza, was kidnapped on February 22 1994, and spent 20 years of his 22-year term.
Al- Khoffash further said detainee Borhan Sbeih will also be released despite the fact that he is not one of the long serving detainees as he was kidnapped on February 18 2001. He used to work as an officer of the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces.
He added that Israel will be releasing five detainees from Nablus, who were sentenced to life-terms, one from Bethlehem, three from Jenin, one from Ramallah and one from Hebron, and that the rest (15 detainees) are from Gaza, and 17 of the detainees who will be released are serving life terms.
“The reason behind this analysis is that the Palestinians need to clearly understand the nature of this deal, especially since the Palestinian negotiators had no input in it as the names have been chosen by Israel and were kept secret”, Al-Khoffash stated, “We need to understand that the mistakes that have been made in the past, are repeated now in this deal”.
He also said that all old detainees should have been released, including those who still have many years in their terms, and all of the detainees sentenced to life terms without any exceptions.
The release is part of an agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, under direct supervision and mediation from U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, in an attempt to revive peace talks.
However, Israel was left to choose the names it wants and the criterion it wants to follow.